Atop Hawk Mountain, Pa., 2010

Atop Hawk Mountain, Pa., 2010
Photo by R.E. Berg-Andersson

Sunday, January 6, 2013

On Record

This morning I bought the Sunday New York Times.

This is common behavior for many people in the New York metropolitan area. You get up on a Sunday morning and you go out for the newspaper. You take it to a sunny spot with your cup of coffee and you spend a few hours learning what happened the previous day and then go to the arts section, the magazine, the week in review.

This is what I used to do every Sunday when my husband and I lived in an apartment in New York City, county of Queens. I’d walk up the block, buy the Times and Newsday. I bought Newsday because it had more local news than the Times, which had a better national and international news section as befitting its advertising as The Paper of Record.

When we moved to an apartment in New Jersey we continued our practice of buying the Times and a local paper, in this case the Star-Ledger.

But a funny thing happened when we moved to our home. Suddenly, it seemed to take a lot of time we didn’t have to get through the two newspapers. I would find myself getting to the morning papers around 5pm Sunday afternoon once I got more important homeowner errands and chores done. Frequently I’d skim most of the paper and leave the arts section, book review and magazine to read more carefully until later in the week.

We gave up both papers when the price spiked and their heft slimmed. I had better things to do on lovely Sundays, and thanks to 24-hour cable channels and the Internet you can always get the news. (We still get the daily Ledger.)

But MH is a man of scientific bent and one of the things he does is collect weather information from New York’s Central Park and from Newark.

As part of that, once a year, usually the first Sunday after Jan. 1, I am asked to pick up The Paper of Record because it contains a chart labeled The Year in Weather. Once a year I shake my head that I am paying $5 for a newspaper. Once a year I will take the time to read every section and get my $5 worth.

Here is what I have learned from this year’s chart:

The average temperature in New York City was 57.4 degrees, or 2.4 degrees above normal, making 2012 the warmest year since 1869. Rainfall was at 38.51 inches, 11.55 inches less than normal, making 2012 the 28th driest year. Total snowfall was 9.6 inches, and that was only because we got a record snowfall in November. February was among the warmest on record and one of the least snowy months of the year.

So it is now official - The Paper of Record says the world is warming. Those people I see in shorts on frigid mornings aren’t the strange ones; I am, for bundling up. That there is no snow to melt and increase the water table or that things bloom and seed before the birds that depend on them arrive north in spring is business as usual now.

Extreme hurricanes, tornados, snowstorms (when we get snow) in the New York metropolitan area - get used to it.

Better to hide yourself in your house or apartment with your Sunday newspaper and not notice what is going on around you.

Ignore those people who, after Sandy, finally started saying aloud what others have thought for years, that the climate is changing and the globe is warming and we‘re going to have to rebuild on our barrier islands and along the shore in a different way because we‘re not going back to how it was.

Stay away from The Year in Weather chart in The Paper of Record.

As long as I can wear my shorts in my overheated house and go to what's left of the Shore in summer and barbeque on weekends and use my gas-spewing snow blower or leaf fan and water my lawn every day, everything’s fine.

We’ll see what The Paper of Record says next year.